It’s difficult for me to put into words just how much the Carolina Band means to me. I first saw the Carolina Band at the Camden Marching Band Contest in 1973 or 1974 as a high school student. When I went to Clemson in the fall of 1975, I soon realized that I wanted to be a band director, and there was only one place to go. I transferred the next semester, just in time to meet Jim Copenhaver when he joined the faculty in the fall of 1976. My life would never be the same.
Cope’s mission was to teach us how to teach, and it all began with a love for music, love and respect for each other, and a meticulous method of excellence. Many other faculty members and students made my time with the Carolina Band rewarding and unforgettable. After graduating in 1980, I taught for two years and then returned as a Graduate Assistant. Cope became not only my mentor, but my friend as well. I was blessed to learn from Bill Moody, Andy Gowan, Doug Graham, GB Lane, Robert Pruzin, Keith Amstutz, Dick Goodwin, and Jim Hall. My best friends like Dan Ward, Steve Moore, Charlie Polk, Lessie (Adickes) Polk, David Allison, Ken Pouncey, and others were people that I met in the Band Hall on South Main or McMaster. Then after graduation, many, many other friends were made because of the Carolina Band, and are still friends today.
My favorite memories include hitting the company front in “America the Beautiful”, the roar of the crowd during the “Fight Song”, our very best show as a G.A. that began with “Krypton Fanfare” and fire extinguishers, band trips, late-night drill-writing in Cope’s office, the overwhelming sense of pride that we all shared, and being on the field during Pre-Game beside Kelsey, my daughter, as she proudly wore her Carolina Band uniform at the 2015 Homecoming Game.
My sincere thanks go to all of the directors and staff that carry on the tradition. Forever To Thee Carolina Band!